Driving a truck has its perks and disadvantages. But if you’re someone who loves to maneuver a steering wheel and cruise on the road, a job as a truck driver may suit you.
The trucking industry provides one of the highest number of jobs in the U.S. Right now, there are more than 3.2 million people employed in this sector.
Trucking jobs have been on the rise in the recent years with a 3.4 percent rate increase noted in 2011 compared to the 2010 figure. Additionally, some 111,000 drivers are needed by 2014 due to a number of factors. A large percentage of drivers in the long-haul trucking sector are nearing retirement and government regulation has implemented stricter driver safety standards.
Truckers do different types of jobs and not just simply drive a large vehicle to various destinations. Many are delivery drivers who bring dry and perishable goods to people and companies in various locations.
While this may sound an easy job for men, the initial steps to becoming a professional truck driver can take some time to accomplish. State governments in the U.S., for instance, have several requirements that aspiring truckers need to meet before they can go on the road.
In terms of education, a high school education and a standard driver’s license issued in the state where you live may suffice. But one needs to undergo training to obtain a commercial driver’s license or CDL if you are eyeing to operate heavy trucks including those that carry hazardous materials and oversized loads.
The CDL is normally obtained from private and public vocational technical schools. A written test on rules and regulations and a practical test must be passed to get the license.
A driver must be at least 21 years of age and must pass a physical exam once every two years. Physical requirements include a 20/40 vision with glasses or corrective lenses, good hearing and a 70-degree field of vision in each eye.
Choosing the Right Job
When you’re already armed with your CDL, you can start applying for a truck driving job. Employers look for applicants with a clean driving record and physically fit to drive in various conditions.
Do remember as well that when you get hired, it is possible that your employer may still require further training at their own expense depending on the truck you’re going to drive. This can last for several weeks to a month.
An applicant must also undergo an alcohol and drug abuse test which is required by government for all employers that hire truck drivers. This is also done periodically for current drivers while on duty.
As you’re still starting out, you may choose to drive a smaller truck first. This is a good way to gain experience before moving on to driving a bigger truck including the trailer type.
Those equipped with the proper training and have longer experience normally receive higher wages. Reports have noted that wages for truck drivers are set to increase up to 30 percent by 2014. This is due to the growing number of freight volume that need to be delivered to their destinations and the shortage of drivers being hired.
In the U.S., areas where truckers enjoy a high salary include Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York and Wyoming.
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About the guest author:
Harrison Plamer is a professional blogger that provides information on CDL truck driving and owner operator truck driving jobs. He writes for BestDriverJobs.com, the best place to find a truck driving job nationwide.